NFC South: Daniel Te'o-Nesheim

Looking at playing time: Defense

January, 17, 2014
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TAMPA, Fla. -- We previously showed you the playing time for all of Tampa Bay's offensive players. Now, it's time to do the same for the defense.

The Buccaneers had 1,059 defensive plays. Here's the breakdown of the number of plays each defensive player participated in, followed by my quick take.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Gerald McCoy 962, Adrian Clayborn 933, Akeem Spence 694, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim 602, William Gholston 312, Da'Quan Bowers 206, Gary Gibson 164, Derek Landri 123, Steven Means 77, Trevor Scott 54.

Quick take: Most teams rotate their defensive linemen to keep them fresh. But the Bucs didn't do that with McCoy and Clayborn. The theory behind that was that, even when a bit winded, they were substantially better than their backups. The rookie Gholston got a lot of playing time in the second half of the season.

LINEBACKERS: Lavonte David 1,022, Mason Foster 771, Dekoda Watson 257, Jonathan Casillas 197, Adam Hayward 187, Ka'Lial Glaud 6, Danny Lansanah 4.

Quick take: The Bucs played David as much as they possibly could because he might be the best player on the team. Some of Watson's snaps came at defensive end as the Bucs experimented with him at that position late in the season.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Darrelle Revis 948, Johnthan Banks 939, Mark Barron 834, Dashon Goldson 807, Leonard Johnson 691, Keith Tandy 441, Ahmad Black 146, Kelcie McCray 101, Michael Adams 86, Danny Gorrer 83.

Quick take: Even though he wasn't 100 percent as he came back from knee surgery, the Bucs still used Revis a lot.

Looking at Buccaneers' playing time

December, 10, 2013
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TAMPA, Fla. -- It's time for our weekly look at how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers distributed playing time.

In a 27-6 victory against the Buffalo Bills, the Bucs ran 66 offensive plays and were on the field for 67 defensive snaps. Here's a look at the individual playing time from Sunday.

OFFENSE

Donald Penn 66
Jamon Meredith 66
Demar Dotson 66
Mike Glennon 66
Tim Wright 59
Vincent Jackson 57
Jeremy Zuttah 51
Tiquan Underwood 45
Davin Joseph 43
Erik Lorig 42
Bobby Rainey 37
Ted Larsen 36
Brian Leonard 25
Chris Owusu 21
Gabe Carimi 16
Russell Shepard 14
Kyle Adams 11
Skye Dawson 7
Mike Hill 5
Spencer Larsen 2
Eric Page 1

DEFENSE

Dashon Goldson 66
Johnthan Banks 66
Mark Barron 66
Gerald McCoy 66
Darrelle Revis 66
Lavonte David 59
Leonard Johnson 58
Adrian Clayborn 56
Mason Foster 53
Akeem Spence 43
Daniel Te'o-Nesheim 39
William Gholston 23
Keith Tandy 15
Da'Quan Bowers 14
Adam Hayward 12
Steven Means 11
Derek Landri 11
Dekoda Watson 10
Danny Gorrer 1
Ka'Lial Glaud 1
Kelcie McCray 1

Bucs need to bring rush on Drew Brees

September, 11, 2013
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It’s very difficult to rattle New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, but that’s what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have to do if they’re going to have a chance against the Saints on Sunday.

One of the few encouraging things that came out of the season-opening loss to the Jets was that the Bucs recorded five sacks. Four of them came from linebackers, which shows that defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan isn’t afraid to blitz. He’ll need to do some of that against the Saints.

But the Bucs really need to bring a pass rush from their front four. New Orleans builds its lines from the inside out, so I wouldn’t count on defensive tackle Gerald McCoy having much success as a pass-rusher. But the Saints are a little shaky with Zach Strief starting at right tackle and Charles Brown at left tackle.

That means the door could be open for defensive ends Adrian Clayborn, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and Da'Quan Bowers. If those guys can get near Brees, the Bucs might be able to slow the New Orleans offense.

Upon Further Review: Buccaneers Week 1

September, 9, 2013
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A review of four hot issues from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 18-17 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday.

[+] EnlargeJosh Freeman
Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsThe Jets sacked Josh Freeman three times in the Bucs' loss on Sunday.
Freeman's future: We’re not yet to the point at which the Bucs have a full-fledged quarterback controversy, but let’s be totally honest: Josh Freeman did not look good Sunday. When he didn’t look good in the preseason, it was easy to shrug off, but this was the real deal, and it’s time to start getting concerned. Freeman completed 15 of 31 passes for 210 yards with a touchdown and an interception in a game in which the offense never got into anything close to a rhythm. Undoubtedly, some fans will already be calling for rookie Mike Glennon. I still think Freeman is Tampa Bay’s best option to win, but my opinion on that could change with a few more performances like this one.

Sophomore slump? After a stellar rookie season, running back Doug Martin had a dud of a game. Martin averaged only 2.7 yards per carry. He gained 65 yards on 24 carries. But don’t go cutting Martin from your fantasy team just yet. Keep in mind the Bucs were without guard Carl Nicks and fullback Erik Lorig, who are two of Martin’s most important blockers.

The overaggressive defense: Lavonte David's late hit on rookie quarterback Geno Smith set up the game-winning field goal for the Jets. Safeties Mark Barron and Dashon Goldson were also flagged for 15-yard penalties that turned out to be very costly. You want a defense to be aggressive, but you also want it to be smart. The Bucs have to be smarter on defense.

The bright spot: There was at least one for the Bucs. That was a pass rush that produced five sacks. Two came from linebacker Mason Foster, and David and linebacker Dekoda Watson each produced one sack. Daniel Te’o-Nesheim was the only defensive lineman to record a sack. The fact the Bucs came up with five sacks was encouraging, but they’ll need more pressure out of their front four if they’re going to have a chance against New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees next week.

Another carrot for Da'Quan Bowers?

September, 5, 2013
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano named Daniel Te'o-Nesheim a starting defensive end Thursday and sent another message in the direction of Da'Quan Bowers.

Bowers
Bowers
Schiano said Te’o-Nesheim earned the starting role on merit. The Bucs had come to training camp expecting Bowers to emerge as a full-time starter. But that hasn’t happened.

“Daniel is steady as she blows," Schiano said. “He goes in and does his job and plays really well against the run, and then the thing that people kind of miss out is he had five sacks last year, just playing hard, tough, relentless football. We’re very pleased with the way Daniel’s performing.’’

But Schiano didn’t stop there, and he certainly didn’t shut the door on Bowers getting significant playing time or eventually becoming a starter.

“I’m also pleased with the way Da’Quan is getting better," Schiano said. “He just hasn’t gotten to where we think he needs to get to yet, but he’s getting there. He’s improved substantially."

It’s pretty obvious what Schiano is doing with Bowers. The coach sees a young player with a bunch of potential. Bowers hasn’t hit that potential yet, but Schiano’s trying to get him to that point by dangling the starting job as a carrot.

Around the NFC South

September, 4, 2013
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Time for a run through some odds and ends from around the division:

ATLANTA FALCONS

The team put out its first depth chart and Harry Douglas is listed as the punt returner. Douglas returned punts early in his career and the team wants him to do it again. The feeling is that Douglas has some explosiveness and the team wants the ball in his hands more often. As a receiver, he doesn’t get that many opportunities because he’s overshadowed by Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

After the release of Drayton Florence, Josh Thomas is listed as a starting cornerback. As David Newton points out, this shouldn’t come as a surprise because Thomas is solid in zone coverage.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan tells Peter Finney he has a lot to prove after being fired from three jobs in five years. It’s good that Ryan comes with a chip on his shoulder because this defense needs to have an aggressive attitude to be any better than it was a year ago.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

The Bucs are listing defensive end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim ahead of Da’Quan Bowers on the depth chart. Bowers hasn’t had the type of preseason the Bucs were expecting. But I also think the Bucs have been trying to light a fire under Bowers and they’re hoping he’ll step up and claim the starting job.

Buccaneers want improved pass rush

September, 2, 2013
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Perhaps the biggest question mark remaining for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is their pass rush.

It wasn’t very good last year and it’s not like the Bucs brought in any marquee players in the offseason. But the Bucs can’t afford to have a pass rush similar to last year’s.

"That’s not really an option," defensive end Adrian Clayborn said. "We have to get the pass rush going. The coaches expect it of us and we expect it of ourselves."

Clayborn might be the closest thing the Bucs have to an established pass-rusher. He had 7.5 sacks as a rookie in 2011. But Clayborn missed most of last season with an injury. When the Bucs let last year’s leading sacker, Michael Bennett, depart as a free agent, they gambled that Clayborn would be healthy and that third-year defensive end Da'Quan Bowers would emerge as more than a situational player.

Clayborn appears to be healthy. But Bowers remains a big question mark. Coach Greg Schiano has said several times that he would like to see Bowers play at a higher level more consistently. It’s unclear if Bowers even will be a starter. Daniel Te’o-Nesheim was working with the first team early in camp and the newly-acquired Trevor Scott has made a positive impression.

The Bucs also have Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who can provide a pass rush from the interior. But Clayborn said the addition of cornerback Darrelle Revis and safety Dashon Goldson will have an impact, too.

“We have a guy like Revis and a guy like Goldson, that helps the rush out," Clayborn said. “It makes a guy pump fake or bring the ball down for a second, that’s when you get those coverage sacks."

Clayborn said it's up to the Bucs to silence the critics of the pass rush.

"We haven’t rushed that good in the past so they have reason to," Clayborn said. "We just have to prove them wrong."

Surveying the Buccaneers' roster

September, 1, 2013
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After making their cuts Saturday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a roster that looks a lot like what I projected Friday.

I hit on 51 of 53 roster spots. Defensive tackle Gary Gibson and offensive lineman Cody Wallace were the two guys I had making the team who didn’t make the final cut. I didn’t have tight end Tim Wright and safety Keith Tandy making the roster, but they did.

Let’s take a brief overview of the composition of Tampa Bay’s roster:

QB (3): Josh Freeman, Mike Glennon and Dan Orlovsky

Comment: The question is whether Glennon or Orlovsky will be the No. 2 quarterback. My thinking is the Bucs wouldn’t have held onto Orlovsky if he’s going to be No. 3.

RB (5): Doug Martin, Erik Lorig, Brian Leonard, Mike James and Peyton Hillis

Comment: Leonard, James and Hillis all looked good in the preseason. They all can be used to help keep Martin fresh.

WR (5): Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Kevin Ogletree, Tiquan Underwood and Eric Page

Comment: The first four were pretty much set in stone. Page made the roster mostly because he’s going to be the return man.

TE (4): Luke Stocker, Tom Crabtree, Nate Byham and Tim Wright

Comment: Presumably, the Bucs kept Wright around because they expect Crabtree to miss some time with an ankle injury.

OL (8): Donald Penn, Carl Nicks, Jeremy Zuttah, Davin Joseph, Demar Dotson, Gabe Carimi, Ted Larsen and Jamon Meredith

Comment: By carrying only three backups, the Bucs appear to be optimistic that Nicks won’t miss too much time due to a staph infection.

DL (9): Adrian Clayborn, Da'Quan Bowers, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Trevor Scott, William Gholston, Steven Means, Gerald McCoy, Akeem Spence and Derek Landri

Comment: McCoy, Spence and Landri are the only true defensive tackles. The Bucs must be planning to use at least one of their ends on the inside at times.

LB (6): Lavonte David, Mason Foster, Jonathan Casillas, Dekoda Watson, Najee Goode and Adam Hayward

Comment: The starters have a chance to be one of the league’s best units, and the backups aren’t bad either.

DB (10): Darrelle Revis, Johnthan Banks, Leonard Johnson, Danny Gorrer, Rashaan Melvin, Michael Adams, Dashon Goldson, Mark Barron, Ahmad Black and Keith Tandy

Comment: This should be the most improved area on the team.

Specialists (3): Rian Lindell, Andrew Economos and Michael Koenen.

Comment: Lindell is the third projected kicker the Bucs have had. Connor Barth and Lawrence Tynes both are out with injuries.

Projecting the Buccaneers roster

August, 30, 2013
8/30/13
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Roster cuts don’t have to be made until 6 p.m. Saturday. But let’s have a little fun in the meantime.

Let’s take a look at my best guess as to how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 53-man roster will shape up:

Quarterbacks (3): Josh Freeman, Mike Glennon and Dan Orlovsky

Analysis: A rough outing by Glennon in the preseason finale might have convinced the Bucs it’s best to keep Orlovsky around.

Running backs and fullbacks (5): Doug Martin, Brian Leonard, Mike James, Peyton Hillis and Erik Lorig

Analysis: Hillis is very much on the bubble. The fact he doesn't play special teams could hurt him. But he also could stick around because he has the size to be a backup for Lorig at fullback and could be a valuable short-yardage rusher.

Tight ends (3): Luke Stocker, Tom Crabtree and Nate Byham

Analysis: The Bucs may have to keep Danny Noble if Crabtree’s ankle injury is going to keep him out for an extended period.

Wide receivers (5): Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Kevin Ogletree, Tiquan Underwood and Eric Page

Analysis: Page has emerged as the return man and that should earn him the final roster spot.

Offensive line (9): Davin Joseph, Carl Nicks, Donald Penn, Demar Dotson, Jeremy Zuttah, Gabe Carimi, Ted Larsen, Jamon Meredith and Cody Wallace

Analysis: The Bucs could carry an extra lineman if it looks like Nicks will be out for an extended period.

Defensive line (10): Gerald McCoy, Akeem Spence, Adrian Clayborn, Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, Da’Quan Bowers, Gary Gibson, Trevor Scott, William Gholston, Steven Means and Derek Landri

Analysis: The last few spots are very competitive and the Bucs could look to bring in a defensive tackle from the waiver wire.

Linebackers (6): Lavonte David, Mason Foster, Dekoda Watson, Jonathan Casillas, Adam Hayward and Najee Goode

This position is pretty clear-cut unless the Bucs bring in someone off waivers.

Defensive backs (9): Darrelle Revis, Johnthan Banks, Dashon Goldson, Mark Barron, Leonard Johnson, Danny Gorrer, Michael Adams, Rashaan Melvin and Ahmad Black.

Analysis: Melvin is very much on the bubble.

Specialists (3): Michael Koenen, Andrew Economos and Rian Lindell.

Analysis: Kicker Lawrence Tynes still is recovering from a staph infection and could end up on injured reserve.

Leonard Johnson leads Bucs' pool

March, 13, 2013
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Tampa Bay cornerback Leonard Johnson, who went undrafted but got a lot of playing time as a rookie, earned the most of any of the Buccaneers in the NFL’s 2012 performance-based pool.

Johnson earned an extra $227,000, according to league sources.

Other Tampa Bay players to earn more than $100,000 in the pool, which is designed to reward players with low base salaries who get significant playing time, were linebacker Lavonte David ($215,000), offensive lineman Ted Larsen ($203,000), defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim ($178,000), fullback Erik Lorig ($178,000), linebacker Mason Foster ($167,000), safety Ahmad Black ($164,000) receiver Mike Williams ($160,000), offensive lineman Jamon Meredith ($145,000), tight end Luke Stocker ($126,000) and offensive tackle Demar Dotson ($126,000).
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have placed the lowest restricted free-agent tender on defensive end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, according to a league source.

The Bucs placed the $1.323 million tender on a player who wound up starting 14 games and producing four sacks last season. But that’s the smart approach from a financial standpoint for a player who figures to be a backup with Adrian Clayborn expected to return from an injury next season.

There’s no need for the Bucs to place a higher tender on Te’o-Nesheim because he originally was a third-round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles. If another team signed Te’o-Nesheim away, it would have to give the Bucs a third-round draft pick, and that’s not likely to happen.

Reviewing NFC South free agents

March, 7, 2013
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We’ve shown you the lists of potential NFC South free agents before. But let’s do it again because there have been some minor moves and the free-agency period is getting ready to start Tuesday.

Here’s the list of potential free agents for all four NFC South teams:

Atlanta Falcons. Tony Gonzalez, Brent Grimes, Sam Baker, William Moore, Will Svitek, Mike Cox, Todd McClure, Luke McCown, Christopher Owens, Mike Peterson, Garrett Reynolds, Lawrence Sidbury and Vance Walker all can become unrestricted free agents. Michael Palmer can become a restricted free agent.

Carolina Panthers. The potential unrestricted free agents are Derek Anderson, Antwan Applewhite, Gary Barnidge, Dwan Edwards, Ben Hartsock, Sherrod Martin, Captain Munnerlyn, Louis Murphy and Mike Pollak. Richie Brockel can become an exclusive-rights free agent. Andre Neblett, Nate Ness and Jason Phillips are scheduled to become restricted free agents.

New Orleans Saints. Jermon Bushrod, Jonathan Casillas, Chase Daniel, Sedrick Ellis, Devery Henderson, Ramon Humber, Elbert Mack, Turk McBride, Will Robinson, Courtney Roby and Scott Shanle can become unrestricted free agents. Brian De La Puente, Justin Drescher, Junior Galette and Chris Ivory are scheduled to become restricted free agents. Eric Olsen and Michael Higgins can become exclusive-rights free agents.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Ronde Barber, Dallas Clark, Michael Bennett, E.J. Biggers, Andrew Economos, Roy Miller, Roscoe Parrish, Sammie Stroughter and Jeremy Trueblood can become unrestricted free agents. LeGarrette Blount, Jacob Cutrera, Corvey Irvin and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim are scheduled to become restricted free agents.

Looking at Bucs' defensive snaps

February, 12, 2013
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The knock on Tampa Bay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy in his first two seasons was that he couldn’t stay on the field.

Arm injuries ended each of McCoy’s first two seasons prematurely and there was talk the former No. 3 overall draft choice was a bust.

Funny, but McCoy, who was selected to his first Pro Bowl, barely came off the field in 2012. He took part in 939 of Tampa Bay’s 1,078 defensive plays. McCoy’s 87.11 playing-time percentage ranked second among all NFL defensive tackles. Only San Francisco’s Ray McDonald had a higher percentage (90.85).

Here’s a look at the rest of the playing-time percentages for Tampa Bay’s defensive players.

Looking at Tampa Bay's free agents

February, 11, 2013
2/11/13
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Let’s finish our look at the potential NFC South free agents with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Safety Ronde Barber, tight end Dallas Clark, defensive end Michael Bennett, cornerback E.J. Biggers, long-snapper Andrew Economos, linebacker Geno Hayes, defensive tackle Roy Miller, receiver/return man Roscoe Parrish, receiver Sammie Stroughter and tackle Jeremy Trueblood can become unrestricted free agents. Running back LeGarrette Blount, linebacker Jacob Cutrera, defensive tackle Corvey Irvin and defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim can become restricted free agents.

The good news is the Bucs have enough salary-cap room to bring back any of their own free agents that they want and there likely are several they want to keep.

Let’s start with Barber. He switched from cornerback to safety last season and continued to play at a relatively high level. The common assumption is that the Bucs want Barber back for another season. But it’s unknown at this point if Barber wants to continue playing. If he decides to retire, he needs to let the Bucs know in the next few weeks so they can begin moving in a different direction.

Bennett might be the key player on Tampa Bay’s list of free agents. In his fourth season, Bennett emerged as a decent pass-rusher (nine sacks), despite not having the injured Adrian Clayborn opposite him for most of the season. Tampa Bay has the nucleus for what could become a very good defensive line and that means it is important to re-sign Bennett and Miller.

Clark came in as a free agent last season and gave the team some help at tight end. But he wasn’t the player he was in his prime in Indianapolis and I could see the Bucs looking to bring in another tight end.

Although the Bucs are expected to overhaul the cornerback position, Biggers is one guy they may keep. In an ideal world, Biggers isn’t a guy the Bucs want in a starting role. But he can be decent as a third or fourth cornerback.

Stroughter and Trueblood are underachievers who are likely to walk as free agents.

Superlatives on the Buccaneers

October, 26, 2012
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With some help from ESPN Stats & Information and Tampa Bay’s media relations department, let’s take a look at some of the many statistical highlights from the Buccaneers’ 36-17 victory against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night.
  • Rookie running back Doug Martin had the game of his life, rushing for a career-high 135 yards. Martin was at his best running between the tackles, with 121 of his yards coming in that area. It was the first 100-yard rushing game of Martin’s career.
  • Martin also had 79 receiving yards on three catches, giving him 214 yards of total offense. That marked just the eighth time in franchise history that a running back generated 200 yards of total offense, and the first time since Warrick Dunn had 221 yards on Dec. 3, 2000. Martin’s total was the fifth-highest in franchise history. James Wilder set the record (229 yards) in 1983.
  • Josh Freeman became the first quarterback in franchise history to throw for three or more touchdown passes in three consecutive games. Freeman completed 19 of 36 passes for 262 yards and also ran his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass to 10.
  • The Bucs finished with 416 yards of total offense. They had 513 yards against New Orleans on Sunday and 463 yards against Kansas City the previous week. That marks the first time in franchise history that the Bucs have had three straight games with at least 400 yards of total offense.
  • Defensive end Michael Bennett quietly continues to put together a nice season. Bennett recorded his third forced fumble and fifth sack of the season. Defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, who took over the starting job after Adrian Clayborn suffered a season-ending injury, recorded his first sack of the season and only the second of his career.
  • Rookie cornerback Leonard Johnson made his first career start and also produced his first interception.
  • Tampa Bay’s defense had its best outing against the deep passing game against Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder. He completed only three throws of more than 10 yards downfield. In the first six games, the Bucs ranked No. 26 by allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 56.1 percent of such throws.

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